"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Thursday, January 31, 2008


I was just thinking about how Evan is not getting his due time on my blog. So, here is an entire post for him! (Hi, Evan, I know you're reading this). As many of you know, Evan has been taking bagpipe lessons for the past seven months. He's getting in touch with his inner Scots-man (okay, he's not really Scottish, but he can pretend). Anyway, he has been playing on a "recorder-like" like thing called a chanter since last June. He was supposed to have a year of chanter lessons and then begin learning the bagpipes (or wrestling with the bagpipes as pipers like to say). Well, my highly musically inclined child progressed so quickly on his chanter that he is now ready to spend hundreds or dollars on a real Scottish bagpipe. On Tuesday he finally got his very beautiful set of bagpipes. He is totally and completely unable to play them yet (Chris couldn't even get a sound out of them); which is totally normal for someone just starting. Because he can't get much of a sound out of them our house is still relatively quiet (okay, our house is NEVER quiet except right now when I am the only one up), but soon the noise will begin. I have already purchased earplugs (no, I am not joking) and I am looking forward to spring when he can serenade the neighbors and play at the park. Okay, here is a picture of Evan with his pride and joy (since he doesn't own a kilt yet his plaid pjs will have to do :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dogs and Children Should NOT Mix

For those of you that haven't read the Christmas Letter of 2005 (http://lettersofchristmaspast.blogspot.com/), you need to know that Raelea has struggles these many (3) years, not knowing if she was a girl or a dog. That's okay though because our dog struggles as well, not knowing if she is a dog or a girl. Well, we thought that every thing was clear in her (Raelea's not the dog's) mind until tonight....

What can I say? She's a quick learner!

Nina's New Blog

I would like to introduce to you Nina's new blog. If you read this and Molly's blog you will have a munch better understanding about why my screen name is crazymom :)

Here it is

Enjoy and come back and visit some time!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Introducing Molly's Blog

Okay, I know that several of you (maybe most of you) only come here to my blog to see what funny comments Molly has posted. Because of that Molly has started her own blog, which will by way funnier than mine. I suspect my blog will slowly die now that I have competition for your time....

Okay, here is the link to Molly's incredibly funny blog

Enjoy and don't forget to come back and visit me sometime....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Butter Sculptures

So, I know it's not State Fair time, but apparently my kids wanted to try their hand at butter sculpting.

Perhaps a lion getting ready to pounce...

Or maybe a rhino?

Would somebody tell these children to just take the butter off the ends of the stick??????

Read the Comments

Just a little suggestion - if you're looking for some entertainment while reading this blog, try reading the comments to the posts. My children are way funnier than I am!

Here's the guilty party now! Isn't she beautiful.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


So, it's Thursday which means it's Aidan's day to do the dishes. While he is standing at the sink he states, rather emphatically, "I LOATHE doing the dishes! I LOATHE doing the dishes so much I would give up all my clothes if I didn't have to do these dishes. I would let you shave me hair off if I didn't have to do these dishes!"

Let's just say that Chris finished the dishes and Aidan is sporting a new haircut.

***Clarification (for Molly's sake) Aidan did not truly get his head shaved - just a haircut which to him probably constitutes a shave.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Sad News

Two bits of sad news in our email tonight. We found out that the wife of a missionary in Ethiopia was killed last night in a car accident. Chris has been in contact with the missionary a few times. We were hoping to connect with him while we were in Addis. It is a huge tragedy, as he (the missionary) was on a flight home to the states (where his wife was) when the accident occurred, so he was unaware of her death until he got off the plane this evening. Very, very sad.

The other bit of news is personally sad, as we have found out that we will not be able to meet any of Zoe and Marcus's birth family while we are in Ethiopia. Our agency has suspended all contact with the birth families as the result of some remarks coming out of the US Embassy. We are very disappointed about this news.

Kind of a downer of a post, but sometimes life is like that. I am thankful that I have a BIG God who is in control of all things and is always good - even when we can't see it from where we are standing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Travel Update

For those of you that have not taken our travel poll, I thought I would give you additional information to make a wise guess. The people who made it through court ten days before us are traveling on Feb. 7. Now, if you're an optimist (like Chris) you would guess we are traveling on Feb. 13. If you are a realist (like me) you would guess that we are traveling on Feb. 20 and if you are a pessimist - we don't want to hear from you!!! No, I mean you would guess we are traveling later than that. If you have already voted you can go back and change your guess now that you know the inside scoop. Happy voting!

Monday, January 21, 2008

When, Oh When, Will We Travel

Have you ever tried making plans for a MAJOR event without knowing the date or time it would occur? Well, that is the predicament I am in. It doesn't work very well to say, "Could you watch my four kids for ten days sometime in February - or maybe March?" What a wonderful thing it will be to actually know when we are going to pick up Zoe and Marcus. Amazingly, we have found friends (bless you, dear friends) who have been willing to agree to watch our four kids who aren't coming with us, the dog, the bunny and the hamsters for ten days without knowing when those ten days will occur. We have the most self-sacrificing friends in the world! They are awesome!!! Special thanks to Lori & Dan, Kim & Casey, Vicki & Larry, Tami & Rick, Harlan & Jeanette, Erica & Dan, Tami & Mark, Tina & Jeff, Lorinda & John and the many, many others who are helping to bring Zoe & Marcus home!

Our agency person told us to plan on two weeks for Zoe & Marcus's birth certificates to be issued and then we will get a travel date assigned. Well, it's been almost one week since then, so hopefully, only one more week to go. As much as we long to go get our kids, we really need the time now to get the bedrooms ready!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Hamster's Jealous

Our hamster just heard that Snickers has a picture on the blog. He wants equal time.

Oh, great, now the bunny is complaining...

Okay, now you know why the blog is called the Zoo!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Even Our Dog Wants to Move South

When I went to let Snickers out this morning she sniffed the air once, turned around and ran back in the house. Smart dog! For those of you non-Minnesotan readers, our thermometer reads -18 F and the windchill is -30. For those of you that live in nice places where you don't need to know what windchill is, let me put it this way: with a windchill of -30 any exposed flesh will freeze in minutes. Doesn't this sound like a great place to live? And the icing on the cake (or the windows) is that it is supposed to get colder tonight! Our high today will not reach zero and so, what is a family to do? Hibernate? No, that wouldn't be very Minnesotan, but I'm sure not going ice skating today!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ode To My Smelly House

Once in a house so fair,
Was a woman brushing her hair.
When before you could tell,
Said, "What's that I smell?"
And lifted her nose to the air.

After wondering and walking about,
She declared with a bit of a pout.
That stench in the air,
Before wasn't there
And it's making me want to shout.

The stench it wasn't small,
And she didn't know who to call
So as she sought
She had a thought
It's the dead animal caught in the wall.

Okay, if you think this is gross, just imagine having to live here!!!!! Two days ago we heard something scratching inside one of our interior walls. Well, the scratching has stopped.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!!!!!!

We made it, we made it, we made it!!! I got the call this afternoon that we successfully made it through court and Zoe and Marcus are officially ours ! So, here are our beautiful new children!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Planning Ahead

Tonight our family watch The Nativity Story movie (I know Christmas was a month ago, but if Ethiopians can celebrate it in January so can we). Anyway, there are a couple scenes of women giving birth (not graphic). So, as I am getting Emily into bed tonight the following conversation ensues...

Emily: "Mom, does it hurt to give birth?"
Mom: "Yes, Emily, it hurts."
Emily: "A lot?"
Mom: "Yes, it hurts a lot."

Long pause...

Mom: (trying to make it sound better than it is) "But it is over relatively quickly and you forget about it really fast...and they have drugs now that you can take so you don't feel anything."

Emily: "Do the doctors decide if you can take those drugs?"
Mom: "No, you get to decide."
Emily: (firmly) "I'm going to get some of those!"

It's nice to know that she is planning ahead :)

It's Court Day

Well, today is the day our adoption case is heard in Ethiopian courts. Actually, it has already been heard since they are nine hours ahead of us. We won't find out for a day or so whether we received a favorable ruling or not. So, what does this mean? If we made it successfully through court, Zoe and Marcus will officially become Johnson's! Hard to believe! We can also then, legally, post their pictures out here and anywhere else we would like to. Our country specialist at the agency told us to plan on traveling five weeks after our court date.

If we do NOT successfully make it through court today, then the case will be rescheduled for a different date and the wait continues....

I will post when I know what happened.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Adoption Hairstyles

I've learned a lot during this adoption process, I really have. One of the things I've learned is that when I am stressed and feeling like I am not in control of things in my life I change my hairstyle. Today, we will document the changes made during this adoption process. At another time, we will do a picture parade of the good the bad and the ugly hairstyles I have had in the last four years (no digital pictures before then). Okay, here we go - we began our adoption process in Nov. 2006

Okay, I have no pictures of myself for Nov. 2006, so this profile shot from Dec. 2006 will have to do. Not much of a style, but it is hair.

Let's move on...

Okay, this is Jan. 2007.
In all fairness, I never actually wore my hair this way, but this is what happens when you have daughters who are bored in the middle of January. I deserve credit for even posting this picture out here for the world to see, don't you think?

There were no pictures of me in February, but in March I found this beautiful picture of Chris (and I happen to be in it also). So, about now you're thinking what is she talking about, her hair is just getting longer and longer. Just wait, you will see what happens as the adoption wait goes on. We began waiting for our referral on Feb. 28, so my stress level is still pretty low in this picture.

Okay, once again, no photos of me in April so now we're up to May. That makes it month three of waiting. The stress is beginning to show. If we don't get a referral by June 15th we will have to wait through the Ethiopian court closure. It won't be long now before my hair starts doing weird things...

June 11 - all appears to be normal. Just four more days until court closure and the long wait until referrals start again in September....

AHHH! What happened??? By June 30, the trauma of the wait has begun to show on my hair! Eww!

Okay, this is what the hair looks like after many portages and no showers. Actually, I just wanted to show you that I can portage a canoe :)

September comes, September goes. Referrals have started again, but not for us, so the hair gets shorter (and darker too I might add). My hair is now shorter than Evan's!

November. It's been eight months of waiting. If we don't get a referral soon the only other hair option I will have is to shave it all off!? That style looks great on Chris, but I'm not sure I could pull it off. Thankfully, our referral came on Nov. 13th and all is stable in the hair department!

Walk Down Memory Lane

I've added two more posts to my Ghosts of Christmas Past blog (oops, I mean Letters of Christmas Past). I am finding it fun to watch my hairstyle change from year to year. Unfortunately, we bought the digital camera in 2004, so until I get a scanner hooked up to this computer there will be no pictures prior to 2004.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Check out my new link

Well, I am having so much fun with one blog, I thought I would start another one!   Actually, my one creative writing endeavor each year is our annual Christmas letter.  Now I am compiling all of them in one place, for your enjoyment.  Walk down memory lane with me :)  The address is http://lettersofchristmaspast.blogspot.com/ or you can click on the link below. Actually, I only posted 2006 so far and it's past my bedtime, so you will have to wait a few more days for the rest of them.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Updates from Ethiopia

I love getting my email in the morning because that is when I find updates on Zoe and Marcus.  Because of the time difference (they are nine hours ahead of us) I end up getting any emails sent from there first thing in the morning.  It's a great way to start my day!  Today we received an update on Zoe, along with a new picture. In the 2 months she has been at the care center, she has gained two pounds in weight and two inches in height.  She also has gotten another tooth, started to walk and is starting to talk!  At this rate, she'll be driving by the time we go get her.  She's beautiful, but you all have to wait to see her for at least one more week.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Where would I rather be today

I was born and raised in Minnesota, but after 42 long Minnesota winters I would rather spend my January at the ocean!  It doesn't help that my parents are enjoying the sun and surf right now while I stare out at the melting snow (at least it's melting).  But, alas, in just six short weeks (hopefully) I will be sitting in balmy Ethiopia with cool bottle of water enjoying sunshine while avoiding disease carrying mosquitoes....aaahh!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Oh, Happy Day

I talked to our agency representative today and she told me our court date is scheduled for January 14!  Yippee!  If all goes well, we should plan on traveling about five weeks after that.  Zoe and Marcus will come home to a Minnesota February!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Waiting, waiting

Sometimes waiting for things is easy, but for me it rarely is (can you say impatient?).  Today we are waiting to make it through court in Ethiopia so we can bring Zoe and Marcus home.  Many families made it through court this week.  That's good news for us as now they are out of our way :).  Hopefully our court date will be in the next two weeks or so.  If not, I will stomp my feet and hold my breath - no, wait, that's not right - if not, we will keep praying while I stomp my feet and hold my breath.  After court it will be about five weeks until we get to go to Ethiopia to get them.  I can't wait!!!!  After court, we can post pictures of them here as well since they will officially be ours (except for the fact they will be thousands of miles from us...)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


Well, I thought I would start off the new year with a new post.  I'm not sure one post a year is going to be very interesting for very many people.  A lot has happened since my last post.  We did receive a referral for two beautiful kids in Ethiopia.  They are Marcus, who just turned four, and Zoe who is 16 months.  We are anxiously awaiting notification that we can go and get them.